New measures to help speed up integration

The government has proposed a sweeping overhaul of Sweden’s system for supporting newly arrived immigrants in their search for a job in hopes of getting them established and working more quickly.

New measures to help speed up integration

The proposal calls for the creation of “establishment guides” and takes primary responsibility for helping immigrants find work away from local authorities and puts it in the hands of the National Public Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen).

“The reform is for all of those who need extra support and prerequisites in order to succeed in making the critical life choices within their first year in their new homeland,” writes integration minister Nyamko Sabuni in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“Therefore the reform we’re presenting to the Council on Legislation (Lagrådet) is based on individuals’ will, participation, and responsibility for their own future in their new country.”

According to the proposal, immigrants can enlist the help of companies or organizations to serve as guides to help them expand their networks and support their efforts to find employment.

The so-called “establishment guides”, in coordination with the employment agency, will help immigrants draw up action plans to speed up their integration into Swedish society.

The guides will in turn be eligible for performance-based compensation in order to create “an incentive for the guides to contribute to new arrivals’ ability to quickly find work and support themselves”.

The government hopes the reform, which is expected to cost around 920 million kronor ($132 million), will increase individuals’ responsibility and incentives to get into the job market quickly, as well as change attitudes about refugees arriving in Sweden from war-torn areas.

“People who flee from war or grave circumstances expect to have a chance to contribute to society – not live on benefits payments,” writes Sabuni.

“Through improved individual planning in which each person is actively participating, and by better follow-ups to ensure that planned activities are carried out, the possibilities for successful integration will be improved.”

While losing primary responsibility for helping immigrants find jobs, Swedish municipalities will continue to contribute to the integration of immigrants by providing assistance with housing, Swedish language instruction, adult education, and programmes for children and young people.

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